World entries jostle for Zim film accolades

Itai Mushekwe/ Bridget Sibanda



GLOBAL entrants to the Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF), which kicked off last week, tomorrow battle it out for top awards at a

ceremony to be held at Harare’s Westgate shopping mall.


The premier motion picture showcase closes on Sunday.


A cross section of international films has left the thirst of movie fans quenched and film jurors appear to be in a fix as almost all presentations at the festival from over 100 countries can easily make the grade for an award.


The jury is made up of high profile people, most of whom have an artistic backgrounds.


There are ten awards up for grabs, which are Best Documentary, Best Short Film, Short Film Project Award, Best Animated Film, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Audience Choice Award, and Best Picture.


The other two Calabash Awards for Best Zimbabwean Production and Zimbabwe Film Service Award are exclusive to Zimbabwean filmmakers.


Internationally acclaimed sculpture Dominic Benhura designed the awards.


Out of the three awards categories, namely feature film, documentaries and short film together with the Zimbabwe Calabash, the feature film arena appears to be hotly contested and is likely to be a close call as most entrants have presented competitive motion picture works.


Countries likely to be locked in the race for film supremacy include the US, the United Kingdom, India, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden although other nations cannot be completely ruled out.


America, observers contend, is banking on Conversations With Other Women, directed by Hans Canosa, which made its African debut on Wednesday night at Elite100. The film started showing a fortnight ago in the US and its cast includes Aaron Eckhart, Helen Bonham and Olivia Wilde, among others.


The United Kingdom and India are also fierce contenders with hit films Mistress of Spices and Paheli (The Riddle) respectively. Paheli, a Bollywood production directed by Amol Palekar graced the opening night of the festival last Friday.


Germany and the Netherlands could also seize the moment with Go for Zucker and Lepel — both films have a strong storyline centred on hope.


Sweden, although not standing on firm ground can also brew a shocker with its moving film, Zozo, which focuses on the Middle East Crisis.


At home the race among local filmmakers is unpredictable as rising director, Anopa Makaka’s feature film, Evil in Our Midst, Police Beat, written by US-based Charles Mudede right across to short film directors Itai Kakuwe (Checkmate), Marian Kunonga (Nhaka Yedu) and animation star Carl Joshua Ncube (Nyaminyami 2) can have their day.


Meanwhile, on a sad note, tension simmered this week suggesting a fallout between ZIFF and the Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) who have criticised the exclusion of three of their productions, Growing Stronger, Peretera Maneta and Pamvura, from the Zimbabwe Calabash competition.


In a letter dated August 28 WFOZ treasurer, Tsitsi Dangarembga, who doubles as director of the International Images Film Festival For Women (IIFF), brings their disenchantment to ZIFF’S doorstep in a letter copied to the press.


Contacted for comment, ZIFF director, Rumbi Katedza downplayed the tension saing: “In terms of screening, the films have been presented at the festival. If you look at our film catalogue they’re also included.”